The UK driving test was initially introduced in 1935, with the current test consisting of three elements:

  1. the theory test
  2. the hazard perception test
  3. the practical driving test

You need to have passed the first two at the same time before you can apply for the practical test. There is approximately six weeks between applying for the practical test and your test date.

The theory test is a 50 question multiple choice test. To pass, you must answer 43 or more questions correctly within 57 minutes. Questions are chosen at random from a bank of over 1,000 questions covering all driving topics.

The hazard test presents a series of 14 one-minute video clips, each showing potential hazards involving road conditions, pedestrians or road users. There are 15 hazards to identify and you can score up to five points on each one, depending on how quickly you identify them. The faster you identify a hazard which would affect the driver, the higher you score. You need to score at least 44 out of 75 to pass this test.

The practical test involves a 40 minute road test where you'll need to show you can drive competently and safely in all kinds of driving situations. You'll be asked to do one of the four manoeuvres you've practised with your instructor, possibly make an emergency stop and answer two vehicle safety check questions, one show me and one tell me. You will also have a "free drive" lasting about 15 minutes, where you will be asked to follow signs for, or given directions to, a particular destination.